The report gives the overall characteristics of the Western European market and explains how consumption patterns vary with national strengths. For example, Italy, where output of powder coatings now approaches 110,000 tons, is now a market of 86,000 tons and the outright leader in every application except automotive-component finishing, where Germany beats it into a close second place. Building on its strong reputation for powder coatings, Italy is now a vigorous exporter of powder coatings, probably to Eastern Europe.
Terry Knowles, business manager at IRL, says, "The powder coatings sector in Western Europe has struggled in recent years as a result of shifting investment patterns, the relocation of manufacturing, rising raw material prices and in some countries the completion of technology substitution within the industrial sector. Yet, the industry remains optimistic that new breakthroughs associated with low cure temperatures, UV-curable powder coatings and thinner films will herald new growth. Two particular areas of potential to be developed further are the powder coating of plastics and the progression of UV-curable powder coatings applications to areas such as flooring. But while growth rates in Western Europe are typically 1% to 2% per year at best, in Eastern Europe demand is growing at an average of 8% per year, as a combination of health and safety issues within industry and low-cost manufacturing opportunities presents a win-win situation for powder coatings producers."